After only two minutes inside his polling station Tuesday, Joe Hyatt walked back to his car with an “I Voted” sticker on his T-shirt and a sense of dread in his chest after casting his ballot in another Oklahoma election.
Hyatt, 50, of Oklahoma City, was among a stream of voters who hit the polls Tuesday, all performing their civic duty and some exercising their right to complain.
Hyatt, a registered Democrat, said if history holds, few of the candidates he supports have a chance of winning.
“It’s always the same old mud-slinging,” Hyatt said after voting at Western Hills Church, 401 SW 44. “I’m getting so tired of hearing candidates say this and say that and then know that they will never do any of it.”
Still, he never misses a chance to vote, he said.
“I don’t like the state of things so that’s why I vote,” Hyatt said. “Just for the off chance it makes a difference next time.”
Oklahoma County Election Board Secretary Doug Sanderson said voting at polls looked steady through much of the day. Turnout of registered voters was expected to be in the mid-20 percent range.
“I went to a few polling spots this morning and there seemed to be a constant trickle,” Sanderson said Tuesday. “We would expect the numbers to be right there with past primary elections.”
At Trinity International Baptist Church, 1329 NW 23, Ed Engebretson, 82, climbed out of his red Cadillac and into the already-hot morning sun. Engebretson, a retired printing press operator, said he votes in all elections, but was especially excited to cast his vote for U.S. Rep. James Lankford, of Oklahoma City.
“I think his experience is what I like,” Engebretson said of Lankford. “His time in Congress will help him adjust faster. All these guys get a big eye opener when they get to Washington and figure out what a big mess it all is.”
Engebretson said he’s ready for a break from the relentless campaign phone calls and political ads.
“I wish they would just leave me alone,” he said. “I’m gonna vote for who I’m gonna vote for and those ads aren’t going to change my mind at all.”
Around the corner from the church, heading north on Classen Boulevard, hundreds of campaign signs dotted the median touting different candidates. At some houses, banners of favored candidates hung from trees in the front yards.
At Village Christian Church, 9401 Ridgeview Drive, a woman walking in to her polling place had a Janet Barresi campaign sign wrapped around the front of her walker.
Susanne Johnson, 32, said she feels the superintendent’s race is one of the most important this primary election.
Johnson said she thought a change needed to be made.
“I really didn’t like the push for Common Core,” the mother of two said about a set of academic standards recently repealed by the state. “I hope our next superintendent will focus more on giving our teachers the tools to be successful instead of telling them how to teach.”